QR executive pay levels 'topical'

A senior executive with rail freight giant QR National has downplay shareholder anger at its executive pay levels, describing it as "topical".

QR National's senior vice president of coal business development was asked about shareholder anger at the Major Projects Conference in Brisbane on Thursday.

"It was a very topical conversation but all of our resolutions passed including our name," James Moutafis told the forum.

The company's annual general meeting on Wednesday overwhelmingly resolved to change QR National's name to Aurizon Holdings from December 1.

As well 14 per cent of proxy shareholders voted against the company's executive remuneration report at the meeting in Brisbane on Wednesday.

Investor groups, including the Australian Shareholders Association, were opposed to the granting of $18.8 million for QR National's nine key executives, including a $4.56 million salary package for chief executive Lance Hockridge.

Mr Moutafis was not among that group of executives.

The company avoided a "first strike", as the percentage votes against the remuneration report was less than the 25 per cent trigger that would lead to a board spill in 2013 if that level of opposition was achieved for a second consecutive time.

The resolution supporting the remuneration report was passed, thanks to support from the Queensland government, which until Wednesday had a 34 per cent stake in QR National.

Following a separate meeting on Wednesday, the Queensland government now has a smaller 18 per cent stake in QR National.

The decision comes two years after the freight company was separated from Queensland Rail and privatised by the former Bligh Labor government.

A new advisory panel will begin discussing winding back wild rivers protection for Queensland's Lake Eyre Basin rivers.

Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps is in Longreach to discuss a new approach to protecting the central west region's Cooper Creek and the Georgina and Diamantina Rivers.

All three are declared wild rivers and flow into Lake Eyre.

Under the wild rivers laws, any development that impacts their flow is banned but grazing, tourism and fishing are still allowed.

Mr Cripps says the former Labor government's wild rivers laws restrict development and cause considerable angst for locals.

Mr Cripps says a new advisory panel of local government and rural leaders will meet in Longreach on Thursday to begin developing a fresh approach.

"This group will provide local community feedback on reforms being considered by the Department of Natural Resources and Mines," he said.

He said the panel will help develop strategies to find a balance between river protection and sustainable development to replace the wild rivers laws.

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